Riders 40 – RedBlacks 18
Streaks were the theme of Saturday’s football game. The Riders extended their winning streak to 5. The RedBlacks extended their losing streak to 1 win in their last 7. We’ll never know how far Dominique Davis could have extended his consecutive drives with an INT streak but they mercifully pulled him at 3. The rate he was going he seemed intent on ensuring every member of the secondary got a pick. While the fans may not have got in on the streaking action, a lady in the crowd managed to flash her “assets” on the maxtron… family day indeed.
The game really contrasted where the teams are at at the most important position. We have Cody Fajardo: rising star, point producer, turnover avoider, sprinkler of Jesus. Ottawa had to pull a turnover enthusiast (he literally completed as many passes to the Riders as to his own players) in favour of an only moderately less sucky QB. Based on that fact alone, it not hard to see why we are on a winning streak and the RedBlacks nose diving. I was really hoping they would just let Sinopoli throw… you telling me he could be any worse? I go back to what I said pre-game though… HOW IS THIS THE SAME DAVIS THAT CARVED US UP IN WEEK 2?!?!? Does he have a more talented twin brother?
With the exception of most of the second quarter where they took a nap, I thought our offense did well. They capitalized on turnovers, they didn’t turn the ball over themselves, they didn’t allow a sack (though some credit has to go to Houdini Fajardo on that). I really like how Fajardo is reading the field. On second down he’s leaning on the savvy vet Roosevelt. He’s milking that crosser to Shaq (which is tough to defend when thrown on time). He used his legs pretty sparingly but was effective when he did. He even decided to break trend and look at Arceneaux more than the allotted one token time. I really liked that long pass to Arceneaux, where Manny recognized Fajardo was in trouble and rolling and cut his route short to come back for a completion. That’s why you have vets like him in the line-up. My only real criticism of the O was that we ran with the wind in the first Q and completely abandoned it into the wind in the second, like constantly in 6 receiver sets not even pretending we’re running. But we worked through that and had a good second half so all in all a good day.
Defense didn’t exactly have the hardest challenge but you can only play the cards you are dealt and they stepped up. Ottawa only really got one play (the deep ball past Bouka) on us. Really liked how we locked down the run (though Crokett getting hurt certainly made that a bit easier). We had 7 turnovers coming into the game… we damn near doubled that… in the first quarter. Judge had a big game. Marshall had his redemption game. On his pick he completely bailed on his receiver who was running a streak and jumped the underneath route. Better QBs will make him pay for that, but against Ottawa that was good aggression and play recognition. D played fired up and with a chip on their shoulder and delivered a great performance.
Special teams had a solid day. It’s nice having Lauther back. I know he missed one but the confidence we have in him on 40+ yard attempts was missed. Plus our kickoffs actually went further than 3 yards, so that was great. Even Jon Ryan decided not to be awful. By my count 6 of his 9 punts were actually on or outside the numbers. ALLELULIA!!! His only real bad punt was late in the 4th. The main weakness I’m noticing now is that when he gets close to the endzone he completely gives up on the directional stuff and kicks it right down the middle hoping it will bounce on the 1 yard line and stay out… it never does, it always rolls in. But for as critical as I’ve been of him, this was actually one of his best games in green. He even saved a bad snap on a FG attempt, getting it up off the ground and in position for Lauther to kick (underrated skill).
Look, let’s be honest, we dummied a really bad team. But that’s what we are supposed to do, can’t apologize for it. You gotta win the winnable games and we have been. Back to back with Winnipeg will get a lot harder but you have to be happy with a 6-3 record through the first half of the season.
Buckle up. Next up is Labour Day and you know I love me some Bomber trash talk!